monday, 10 december of 2018

Justice

Trump announces William Barr as pick for next Attorney General: US

US President Donald Trump told reporters Friday he is nominating William Barr, a former attorney general under President George HW Bush, to be the next Attorney General.

Barr has public experience in the CIA, Department of Justice, White House and as a clerk for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He received degrees in government and Chinese studies from Columbia and graduated from George Washington Law. He served in both Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush’s administrations. He was a White House domestic policy staff member for Reagan and as Deputy Attorney General and later Attorney General for Bush.

Since Barr’s time in the Bush Administration, he worked as general counsel for GTE Corp., which merged with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon in 2000. Barr served Verizon until 2008. Barr currently works for Kirkland and Ellis.

If confirmed Barr will be the eighty-fifth Attorney General.

If Mr Barr is confirmed by the senate after his official nomination, he will replace the current acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker.

Mr Whitaker had been a controversial pick from the start due to his views on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry.

Mr Trump has repeatedly lashed out at the investigation, calling it a "witch hunt".

When he selected Mr Whitaker to replace Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the inquiry, Democrats feared Mr Whitaker would bring an end to the special counsel's work.

Democrats say they will definitely press Mr Barr on his views regarding protecting Mr Mueller and his work, during his confirmation hearings.

Will Democrats derail his appointment?

On paper William Barr looks like a safe pick for US attorney general. Since serving under George HW Bush, he's spent most of his career as a corporate lawyer, so he's more than familiar with Washington's corridors of power.

Mr Barr is the kind of nominee Senate Republicans - whose votes will be needed for confirmation - know and are comfortable with. He's not exactly a drain-the-Washington-swamp choice, but that has never been a priority in the gilded halls of the upper chamber of Congress.

This, of course, is no normal time - and it didn't take long for interested parties to scour Mr Barr's recent comments and writings in search of any meaningful hints on how he would oversee Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Democrats won't be encouraged to learn that he expressed support for Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and recommended further investigation of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It's going to be months before Mr Barr receives a Senate vote, and the scouring will surely continue. Contentious confirmation hearings are all but a given. This, however, is a nomination that will be difficult for Democrats to derail.

Who is William Barr?
The 68-year-old Republican lawyer has an impressive political resume, spanning the CIA, White House and Department of Justice.

Mr Barr holds degrees in government and Chinese studies from Columbia University.

While studying law at George Washington University, he worked at the CIA from 1973-1977.

As a young lawyer, he clerked for the DC appeals court.

For a year, Mr Barr was a member of President Ronald Reagan's domestic policy staff at the White House; a role he eventually left to pursue corporate law.

In 1989, he was appointed by President Bush to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. He was promoted to deputy attorney general next, and then to the top role.

After passing his senate confirmation hearing unanimously, he served as the 77th US attorney general from 1991-1993.

As the top US law official at that time, he oversaw Robert Mueller, who was then leading the department's criminal division.

Mr Barr retired from his position as counsel and executive vice-president of Verizon in 2008.

(Published by Jurist Org, December 7, 2018)
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